Two homes lost to fires in two months

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Two house fires hit the west end of Mineral County just weeks apart. Ruschel Sage and Todd Oatman lost their home on Jan. 21 (above) and Shawn and Amy Cielke lost their home on Feb. 19. (Photo courtesy of Ruschel Sage)

Two house fires hit the west end of Mineral County within weeks of each other. Near Haugan, Ruschel Sage and Todd Oatman’s new home burned to the ground on Jan. 21. Nearly a month later, on Feb. 19, Shawn and Amy Cielke’s home also burned and was completely destroyed.

The homes were near each other and no serious injuries were reported. Both the Westend and the St. Regis Volunteer Fire Departments responded to the two blazes.

Todd posted a GoFundMe page and explained that the family had put all of their savings into that home and did not have insurance. They were waiting until “Monday,” but three short days after moving in, the fire took their home, garage, car, snowmobiles and belongings.

Sage, who works as a medical assistant at Community Medical Center, said she had received second-degree burns on her face, arm and foot but has healed up nicely. Todd also burned his hand but didn’t have medical insurance because he just changed jobs.

However, the couple is thankful that their three young girls got out safely. A few more minutes and none of them would have made it out alive, said Ruschel. “Something was looking out for us,” she said.

The couple has another house in Clinton, where they are currently staying. They aren’t sure what the next step will be regarding the Haugan property. Their GoFundMe page can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/ruschels-medical-fire-relief.

On Feb. 19, Shawn and Amy Cielke also awoke to a blaze and manage to escaped their home with their three children and dogs. According to a post on Facebook, their pole barn, ATV, shed and mowers were all saved thanks to the efforts of the fire departments.

Amy was full-term pregnant on the night of the fire, and they had their baby girl on Feb. 22. The couple had insurance and is currently staying in a cabin at the Black Diamond Ranch. The cause of the fires are still under investigation.

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